The Many Uses For A Game Camera

Uses for a game camera

How many of you have a game camera?

They’re pretty useful! Not only do they assist the hunter finding ‘game’, but they’re good for all sorts of other discovery.

A game camera or ‘trail cam’ is a great prep gadget to have in my opinion.

Today’s models not only take pictures but video and audio too. And they see in the dark (to an extent). Some even are able to transmit wireless from their location.

A nice security gadget too.

I thought it might be fun if we list some of the things that we’ve used our game cameras for. Here are a few of my own past uses (beyond their primary purpose)…

Onion Thief
Last Spring we kept noticing that more and more of our sprouting onions in the garden were missing. It was quite bizarre. Didn’t notice any obvious tracks near the plants. So I set up my game camera. Low and behold we discovered lots of Blue Jays were swooping down and pulling out the little onions and flying away with them! Who knew!

Who’s stealing the Snap Peas?
Last year in my dad’s garden as the snap peas grew to ‘just the right size’, before he had a chance to pick them, something else was beating him to it. He set up his game camera and caught the little critter in the act. It was a Chipmunk!. Would climb right up and eat a hole row of them… (Never knew that Chipmunks liked snap peas!)

Nothing goes to waste in nature
Last fall when it was time for the pigs to become bacon, we set up the game camera over in the field where we dumped the ‘remains’. It was fun to watch the animals and birds work on the pile. Ravens, Hawks, Foxes, Coyotes.

Security cam
A year ago we went on a long trip. Although I did my best securing the home and property, I hid my game camera such that it was pointing towards the front of the house. “If” anyone had attempted to get in, at least I’d have a chance at discovery…

Note: I used an external battery so I was assured that the game camera would remain powered for an extended period of time.

General observation of wildlife
It’s also fun to simply set it up here and there around the prperty to observe wildlife activity. We’ve captured plenty a bear and deer in the sights of our game camera. Haven’t spotted Big Foot yet…

Did the tax assessor come by?
We knew that the ‘tax man’ was due to arrive on our property as part of their regional home assessments which they do every number of years. We just didn’t know exactly when. We’re not always home and wouldn’t necessarily know if they had come or not. No problem. Game camera. Sure enough after a periodic check of the SD Card, we noticed that he had come by a few days earlier. Enabling us to open the shades and unlock the doors ;)

This is my game camera:
Stealth Cam 14.0 Megapixel 45 No-Glo IR Trail Camera

And the external battery pack (literally operates for months),
Stealth Cam 12V Battery Box w/ 12V Battery Included

Bear Cam

What about you? Any stories to tell about your game cam?

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  1. My adult daughter got out of an unpleasant relationship with a boyfriend. He was not used to being spurned and so he kept pestering her. Along with turning mutual friends against her he would frequently show up at her house unannounced, and would drive down the alley behind the house. She needed proof so she set up a game camera and it took several pictures of him driving down the alley. The pictures had a date and time stamp showing when the pictures were taken. Finally her day in court came. She had no lawyer but argued her own case. The pictures were used to prove he was around with no need to be around. The judge ruled in her favor and told her in the presence of his lawyer that if the guy came around again all she had to do was tell the judge and he would have him locked up. He also stated that she should feel free to exercise her Second Amendment rights should she ever again feel threatened by him.
    A picture is worth a thousand words.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Congratulations. you and your daughter got lucky on many angles. First, the boyfriend presumably wasn’t a deer. He could have recognized the lens and IR emitters and simply taken the device. Second, the date and time stamp mean nothing and can easily be modified. A first year law student might ask how it was ascertained whether or not he had a “need to be around”. That same law student might ask how you knew it was him who was driving down the alley and not just a vehicle that looked like his. You mentioned the other guy was lawyered up and your daughter went in pro se?? This was a civil case? Then why the jail threat? And if it was a criminal case, then why wasn’t the District Attorney prosecuting it instead of your daughter? Then, regardless the outcome, at least in the US… one doesn’t typically contact a judge and have a guy sent to jail. Generally a protective order is issued then the police are called if it is violated.

      I’m not trying to be a pedantic prick, but the whole thing doesn’t add up, at least in the US. Plus I’m bored. It’s Friday. I’ve run out of leads for the week and it’s still too chilly to get back on my landscaping project.

      1. McGyver, like you, I have no skin in this post by Steve, but civil judges do have the power to jail for “civil contempt”. Sounds as if Steve’s daughter and her estranged boyfriend had been before his bench before. I doubt he threatened jail unless he had issued a no-contact or protective order in a prior proceeding, or issued the jail threat in conjunction with an order he issued after seeing the pictures. This power to jail w/o criminal charges can be abused, as the judge can have the object of his anger kept in jail indefinitely, w/o bail. Since orders in civil courts are enforced by the Sheriff, usually city police will not enforce them unless accompanied by a criminal charge.

  2. That’s a good idea. I had thought about a camera for security, but thought they would be much more expensive.

    Have to find one that allows me to see what is outside from inside my house.

    1. Daisy,

      The price/value sweet spot on camera systems right now is a 4 camera package, PoE, with an NVR. You, or someone will have to run wire to the cameras, only once. The single ethernet cable carries both image and power. From your NVR you can connect to your WiFi router. Then you can turn on any TV, computer or mobile device you have handy and instantly bring up a 360 view of your property. You can even scrub back in time to when you heard the noise or whatever alerted you. If you see something, snatch it and put it on a flash drive. Some of the better systems will do facial mapping. So if the trespasser has ever been arrested before, he will soon be picked up again.

  3. A few years ago I put a game camera on our driveway, for the most part the triggering was too long, meaning if someone was driving fairly fast they were out of view before the picture was taken. I changed it out for a faster reflex camera.

    About a week later I noticed what appeared to be two BB or pellet gun holes in our chicken coop window. I checked the game camera, and sure enough, I had pictures of a white pickup coming and going at 2am (apparently I’d slept through our driveway alarm). A few days later I had a new window, and the Sheriff had a new arrestee.

    In retrospect, the way it turned out was for the best. If I’d have heard the driveway alarm, gotten my 12 gauge to investigate, and seen a gun sticking out of a car window the whole situation could have been very bad for for a couple teenage vandals.

  4. We have eight hard wire cameras on the house with one at the front gate. This gives us N.V. and I.R. coverage in living color in the light 24/7. The O.P. and C.P. are hard wire with Swiss military surplus hand sets. We have game cameras that we move around when we think we have had incursion on the property. Property is posted and registered with the county as posted with 30 day notice or warrant for entry. Most folks in the North Georgia mountains know it’s not a good idea to trespass on other folks land.

  5. I purchased one out of concerns for my step-daughter’e ex coming on to the property. He had been told to stay off of it. We took a vacation to NB’s island and sure enough he drove down the driveway and started threatening to kill her. That was the incident that got him sent to prison for 3 years.

    The camera did show the trespass but truthfully it did not contribute to his conviction. My grand daughter now knows that grand pa has cameras on the property but not where. I’ve challenger her to find them and after a few weeks she did find the one but hasn’t found the others. (There aren’t any others but she doesn’t know that) She also knows that the camera caught her daddy being a bad guy.

    When he is released she will have re-newed visitation and I’m sure he will find out that he was on camera. Hopefully that will give him thought about coming back.

    I’d really like some of those ring cameras that send a signal and video to your phone. Where we live cellular coverage is very spotty and most folks don’t get a signal on their phones.

        1. I think it’ll be a shock to #3 when it slides down to #4. I don’t think the top three are really focusing on votes. They haven’t changed in a couple months.

        2. Lauren,

          #3 took of its link to the voting a long time ago. That is why they haven’t changed in about a year.

  6. I’ll pass along something I discovered quite by accident. A year or so back, I purchased a cheap “dashcam” for my side x side after my brother got run off the rock road we live on and the Sheriff’s deputies refused to make a report because, in their words “since these roads are not striped for lanes, we can’t determine fault.” After purchasing the dashcam, I discovered that it has a motion detector mode, which allows you to leave it unattended and it activates instantly to record a 30 second clip, then goes back to sleep absent any movement. Mounting it outside requires some weather protection and a 12volt power source (I use a cheap lawnmower battery or a 110v USB converter). The camera takes up to an hour of video and overwrites on a loop so you only need to read the card if you find something amiss or wish to just check for activity. This camera cost less than $30 on Wally World’s “as seen on TV rack”.

  7. I have 8 browning cameras and have used them for over 6 years. Use them at the house and Ranch. The house if great as we have a pic of every delivery person dropping off a package. Also used to discovery why the bunnies have disappeared, 2 foxes have found their way into the property and I have pics of them running away with one in their mouth.

  8. We’ve had a problem with druggies stopping by our rural mailbox location once in awhile and cleaning out everyone’s mail, usually around tax time. I put up a sign stating the area is under vidio surveillance but no camera as of yet. Do they make one that is solar power with a red flashing light? We’re way to far from the road to run hard wire and it would needed to be mounted high on a pole to keep it from being taken or disabled. Mostly looking for a deterrent.

    1. Who Knows,

      You can buy decoy cameras. 2 AA cells inside will drive the blinky LED practically forever. Harbor Freight has them.

  9. The newer cameras are all AA battery operated and last a few months. I normally get 5000- 7000 pics at 4MB on a set of 8 batteries. You can also purchase the more expensive models with cellular service that will send the pic to your phone as a text. I avoid these as I have no cell service at the ranch and the tend to be heavy battery users.

  10. This is a rather ordinary use for a cam but a subject very unusual for my area. I have heard several people say they have seen a cougar through the last 15 yrs or so spannin a distance of 40 miles along the river. Wildlife “officials” each and every time dismissed a report by claimin “it was a bobcat or a large housecat people saw” and acted like we citizens are just too dammed stooopid to know the difference.

    Two such reports I heard straight from the horse’s mouth. Both horses credible witnesses, one of which is a close friend of 30 years… an extremely straight shooter………me bein a Hillbilly and all, it’s hard for me to fathom unless I saw it myself, although highly skeptical I didn’t disbelieve him but still I got that “Hillbilly” thing goin on. When I was a kid, my granny told me many times “You don’t believe scat stinks unless you get your nose rubbed in it.” The older I get the smarter Granny gets. ….

    .Year before last a fellow a couple miles over the hill had a game cam at his deer feeder before the season opened. Got pics of two adult mountain lions. I know the guy, he’s not a poser like a lotta people. I am familiar with the very location the pic was taken. It’s legit. I was most surprised to see proof.

    1. wood56gas, as I recall, you and I live in the same region. I’ve had several folks say they’ve seen lions and the Game and Fish folks refuse to take them seriously. I have a good relationship with our Game Warden and asked him once about his thoughts on the subject. He told me that there was no doubt that we had lions in our area, but that the official line had to remain that we did not. He said that if the state acknowledged their presence, they would have to develop a conservation plan and add them to the states endangered species list for protection. Like he said, they were killed off for a reason and as long as the state denies their existence, farmers/ranchers can kill them on sight with no fears of repercussions. You can’t be held responsible for harvesting an animal that doesn’t exist. Occasionally government types make sense

  11. Dennis

    An ultra reliable source 20 miles over the opposite hill from the pics saw 2 young cougars 3 yrs or so ago on the same place an adult female was confirmed 5 yrs ago. I did not personally see these but the fellow who did is one I know very well and if need be I would stake my life on his word, and that’s somethin I don’t say lightly. The way it sounds there are at least several in the extended area.I spoke of. Interestin to think you could walk within 6 inches (sarc) of one in the woods and not see it unless it moved…….

    There’s a group up here in the mountains that get together and search for Bigfoot. They claim there have been credible sightins of Bigfoot in the area……..Who am I to say???? Mtn Lion thing does give you pause to ask “what else might be right in front of my eyes that I haven’t seen”? hahaha

    1. wood56gas,-I hear you. I’ve inspected neighbors cattle kills in my area. Feral dogs usually will attack the haunches to kill a cow. Wolves (we are not supposed to have those either) will attack the lower throat. I’ve inspected kills where the bites were on the top of the neck which is indicative of great cats. These kills usually have debris pulled on top of the kill which also would indicate a lion.

      I don’t fear the black bears I see fairly often, but lions are a different danger as they tend to see humans as just another meal (at least that’s what I’ve read). If they are aware you are in the area and you don’t see them, they are probably stalking you.

      1. Dennis

        Hey man, I’m with you. Ever since I heard the first report 15 yrs ago, I changed my behavior. I am much more careful especially in the dark. I used to lollygag around here all over the place all hours of the night till the wee wee hrs of mornin and think nothin of it. When I first heard about local mtn lion, I talked at length with the feller that saw it. I was convinced he was without a doubt sure he saw a mtn lion. He certainly seemed plenty experienced enough to know what it was not. Shortly after that I got my blue heeler for the main purpose of keepin an eye on things so I don’t have to. Now, I don’t hear all that good, don’t see as good, worse at night, I seldom go out at night anymore without at least one of the three outside dogs. They take care of the seein and hearin, If I don’t take a dog, I constantly scan for eyes, never stop. I prefer bein cautious to bein supper……….hahahaha

        It’s a soberin thought that one just might be watchin you…………

  12. Hey folks, Amazon just put a 12mp, 1080p game camera on Lightning deal. As of this time stamp, 35% claimed, with 5 hours to go. $46.19.

    1. Thank you, went on to Amazon & bought one. Been thinking about a game cam for a while, and your recommendation caused me to move on it.

  13. Due to theft and vandalism at our church we installed wireless cameras.
    These are IR and noise activated. They transmit their images to a local card and wirelessly to a server. The server directly save the images to the cloud.
    There is no disputing the time or date from the cloud.

    At my place of work – a shopping mall, tower office complex we have hundreds of surveillance cameras.
    These are extremely high definition, they can zoom in to close view. They have face recognition. They can be set to recognise a face walking into the centre and then follow that face around the complex – automatically. Some faces have been flagged – particularly those whom have been banned from the centre. A message can be sent to a security guard if a known flagged face walks into the centre – automatically. Wear a face mask? Technology is being developed to recognise your eyes only. Wear dark glasses as well as a mask? Technology is being developed to recognise individual body movement pattern.
    The cops now come in and pickup footage when they are investigating misdemeanors.
    Our footage goes to the cloud. Legislation doesn’t yet exist to allow the Authorities to download from the cloud as yet – but it’s coming.

    Plug a SD card into our system from your home security camera and we will most likely pick up and recognize a face on our database -(not legal – but the facility is there).
    18 million individual movements through our complex every year.

  14. We have security cameras outside but last summer I put 2 of them inside of the house to find out where bats were coming in. I was able to locate where they were first visible and found the opening to seal up.

  15. I was taking care of my daughters house and garden for a week. She told me that by the time I got there the cherry tomatoes would start coming in. Not a ripe tomato to be found. All week no tomatoes. When she came home, she set up her camera and saw that the birds were picking all the ripe tomatoes.

  16. I bought a used game camera from a neighbor who was moving. It also has a 5 second delay and it is sometimes hard to catch animals. But we did manage to find out we had a racoon, skunk, badger and red fox problem. No wonder my cat won’t go our at night.
    I also bought a blink security camera for when we are on vacation but found out, after we returned home and picked up our package, that it could only be used with a smart phone. I have a dumb phone as we don’t have much cell service here. They wouldn’t take if back so it is still in the box.

    1. Old lady, I’ve got a flip phone and being somewhat of a luddite, hate the smart phones. Actually it’s just because I’m electronically challenged. One thing we’ve noticed is if a guest can’t get cell service on the ground floor the can if they move to the second floor. It seems my old flip phone is more receptive to signals than the newer smart phones.

      1. me
        You a ‘luddite’…no way.

        You are not the only one who keeps that style of phone which is becoming more popular once again. Makes one wonder why??? Is it the lack of tracking when it is turn off, or the availability to remove the battery?

  17. To Wood56gas and Dennis:

    Before I left Cali, several cougars were thinning the deer herd around a small golf course in town. Many homes had installed game cameras to catch meth-head package thieves caught the cougars trotting by their front porch cruising for pet food. As a hunter, I could not touch them as they were protected.

    One was killed by a Ford F250 on a busy road next to a convenience store. The other was killed within the Post Office parking lot for the fleet of delivery trucks by about 1/2 the local Police Dept.

    This was in 3 years into a drought so animals were driven into towns to drink water from sprinkler systems and nibble on green grass of peoples lawns. All of it documented on the many game cams being used by small town home owners.

    Hunters do not kill many animals. Lack of water kills many animals.

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